Sunday, 4 January 2015

Chicken keeping - not for the fair weather allotmenteer!!

In winter you can always tell who are chicken keepers on an allotment, because whilst everyone else is having a nice warm lie in on frosty cold Sunday, the hen parents are  the ones who are wrapped up carrying bottles of warm water down to their allotments unfreezing water feeders.

On a Sunday it's not so bad, you can have a little lie in but during the week, my god, it's hard work but absolutely neccesary.

The night before I check the weather to see if it's going to freeze overnight, if there's a slight chance, I then start preparing.

I set alarm for half 6 get my work clothes ready and my allotment clothes ready and fill the kettle.  Then in the morning the alarm goes off, I jump onto the bed look out the window to see how frosty it actually is. If not, I can get back into bed for a while, but if so, its all go!

I make a brew for the journey fill empty milk bottles with warm water and go out and de-ice the car in a ridiculous amount of layers so much so I look like the marshmallow man off Ghostbusters!!  Its still dark and honestly it's not a part of chicken keeping that I ever anticipated!

A quick de-ice of the hen water and then back home to get ready for work.

And it should be noted there is no return for your hard work in winter, no eggs are laid!!

This morning I went to the hens at about half 10 and it was reading 0c on the car thermometer and there was frost everywhere:

To be perfectly honest they would have been OK to not go this morning but I also wanted to make sure the water in their feeder was changed. Obviously, though with the cold weather last night the hose pipes on the allotment from the farmers house are likely to have been frozen. Not taking chances:

The good old camping water carrier has to come out of storage! It holds enough to completely fill the water feeder.

Here's is the chicken set up in winter:

Yes that's my finger at the bottom of the photo *rolls eyes at my amazing camera abilities*

The back part of the pen is completely covered, their house is in there as well as their food and the main water feeder. Even in heavy rain and wind they are sheltered and a little warmer at nights. The other two pens as you can see are just open at the front, though in summer I can take the cover off the end pen.  It still gets very wet in there but not as bad as it could get.

So there you go, chicken keeping is not for warm weather allotmenteers, you have to be prepared for many things and cold weather is just one of them!

This week I will be mainly taking my Sign Language exams (fingers crossed please) and researching celeriac!

Bye for now & happy planting!!


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